Curried Sweet Potato Soup

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From Screen Doors and Sweet Tea by Martha Hall Foose, Clarkson Potter

I love the way a crisp puffed pork rind (or a scattering of pomegranate seeds) crowns this soup, which elevates the lowly sweet potato. A little heat from curry and sweetness from coconut milk make this dish worthy of the fine china.

Ingredients
3 pounds dark orange sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 leeks, white and tender green parts only, chopped
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
2 (2-inch) pieces lemongrass
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon lemon curry powder blend
1 quart vegetable broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can coconut milk
Fried pork rinds, for garnish

Notes
1. Do not cut sweet potatoes with a carbon steel knife; this will turn the edges black. Use a stainless steel or ceramic knife instead.

2. Any of the autumn squashes, like kabocha, acorn, or butternut, can be substituted for the sweet potatoes with fine results.

3. Ginger is easily peeled by just running a teaspoon across the thin skin. Grate the ginger against the grain of the fibers to keep it from clogging up the grater.

Instructions
1. In a large pot, cook the sweet potatoes in the butter for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add the leeks, ginger, and lemongrass. Cook for 3 minutes over low heat or until the leeks are tender. Add the garlic and curry, and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the broth and simmer until the sweet potatoes are very tender, about 20 minutes.

2. With an immersion blender, or carefully with a blender, puree the soup. Stir in the coconut milk and warm through over very low heat.

3. Ladle into bowls and top with a pork rind.

Serves 6.

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